Saturday, October 3, 2009

A few memorable words

- Marine: “Since we just had an IED blow up outside the base, just down there in the town, I think we should search the town down there.”
- ANA commander: “No, not a good idea.”
- “Yes, it is a good idea. We can’t let them get that close to us. The villagers at least need to know that if they aren’t our eyes and ears out there, then we’ll put them through some inconvenience by searching their homes.”
- “I don’t want to do it.”
- “I know you don’t but we have to.”
- “Couldn’t do it even if I wanted to because we already made the schedule and a search of that town is not on the schedule for this week.”
- “Right, but this little operation is based on new information. Remember what we talked about changing operations based on new information and intelligence?”
- “Can’t do it and won’t do it.”
- “Ok, I’ll give you one phone card to call your family with if you do the op.”
- “No.”
- “Two phone cards.”
- “No.”
- “Two phone cards and I’ll buy a cow for the soldiers.”
- “Can’t do it.”
- “Ok, two phone cards, a cow, and we’ll find you a new wife. Plus I’ll throw in a summer house in Nuristan.”
- (laughing) “Seriously, we’re not doing that operation.”
- “Roger.”

Thermals from the sky
- Apache Pilot: “I got a guy on my scope moving all nimbly-bimbly through the trees!”
- Air controller on the ground: “Yeah, that’s probably a monkey.”

Soviet War heroes
- Marine: “How come every officer I meet claims he was a commander during the war against the Soviets?”
- ANA mullah: “Because some of us were.”
- Marine: “Maybe, but not Commander Hanif here. He looks way too young to have been commanding anything during those times. Maybe he was the chai boy.”
- Commander Hanif: “You may be right.”

We’re ready

- ANA officer: “We’ve got intel that the base is going to be attacked tonight.”
- Marine: “Sounds like a great opportunity to kill some people…but how are we going to prepare for this?”
- “We are at stand-to.”
- “What does that mean?”
- “It means we are ready.”
- “Are there more soldiers on duty? Are they sleeping in their gear?”
- “No. None of that. But we are ready.”
- “Yes, but are we doing anything differently than before?”
- “Yes, we are ready now.”
- “Well, alright then.”

Prelude to a firefight

Unknown insurgent on handheld radio: “I am going to do something.”

We meet again

- Marine: “Hello there Haji Z. Been awhile.”
- Haji Z: “Here you are. Where have you been? I didn’t give you permission to leave my valley.”
- Marine: “Ah, yes, but I have to take orders from someone and can’t always be where I want to be.”
- Haji Z: “Let me talk to this person!”

Korengal Tank
- ANA officer: "You know what would help us? A tank! We need a tank our here."
- Marine: (egging him on) "Oh yeah? A tank? Great idea! How would we employ a tank here exactly?"
- "Easy. We'll just drive it around and the Taliban will shoot at it. Then we'll shoot them with the big gun."
- "Hmm. You sure we can drive a tank around this valley? It's kind of narrow and the roads might not hold a tank."
- "Oh, we don't really need to drive it anywhere. We can just park it out there somewhere."
- "Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of a tank?"
- "No. No. It would work great."
- (laughing) "You guys need tanks in the Korengal about as badly as you need a navy."
- (petulant) "If you Americans cared about us you'd get us tanks out here."
- (placating) "Ok, ok, we'll see what we can do."